The witnesses continue to pile up as allegations spanning decades destroy the carefully fabricated image of a man once thought to be a champion of feminism, and a well-heeled benefactor for every left-wing political cause and politician that came down the pike.
What makes the horrific list of alleged crimes committed by Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein even more unconscionable is the fact that many of his accusers are among the Tinseltown elite — women who collectively have worn their progressive politics on their sleeves like golden chevrons, pushing their female empowerment agenda at every possible opportunity.
God bless them, I admire their quest for equality, and I support it without hesitation. Unfortunately, as they breathlessly told the world how “nasty” they were willing to be in the fight against horrible men like Donald Trump, they forgot to get “nasty” when confronted by the very real threat reportedly posed by Weinstein. (See accuser Ashley Judd’s speech of 1-14-2017 for the full “nasty” diatribe.)
If Weinstein’s alleged list of victims were secretaries, interns, unsuccessful actresses, and put-upon wannabes, the conspiracy of silence that apparently allowed this guy free reign over countless innocent women would be understandable. Indefensible and horrific, but logical nonetheless. People with no power, particularly the nameless and faceless denizens of Hollywood’s minion class, would stand no chance involved in a legal dispute, or making evidence-free allegations, against a man the likes of Harvey Weinstein.
Certainly if he is guilty, that would be the reason he picked the aforementioned nameless and faceless, etc., etc., etc.
But wait, he didn’t.
The bold executive apparently didn’t limit his prey to the worker bees who would not have had the ability to take him on. Check out the A-list actresses who are now accusing Weinstein, and woefully admitting that they should have taken a stand against him many, many years ago.
You have seen the names, Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie stand out among them, who continued to make movies with the man who according to their mea culpas, harassed them early in their careers. No lawsuits followed, no calls to the powerful Hollywood unions that wield enormous influence and power, no protests or speeches in front of the studio gates.
As much of a hypocritical disconnect as there happens to be in the case of Weinstein and his myriad entertainment industry accusers, perhaps we should step back and acknowledge that the powerlessness and fear women naturally often have in their struggle against such attacks is so overwhelmingly destructive that the expectations of rational thought and logical conclusions have no place in the conversation.
As a father/husband/son, I can attest that anger, fear and concern over my own loved ones’ well being and fair treatment in such an atmosphere would transcend any hope for “cooler heads prevailing.” Back in 1969, it was the reason my own Mother opted not to tell my Dad when her middle-aged boss physically assaulted her for “not moving fast enough” on an errand in the office. “Your Dad would have killed him!” she admitted. Had the bastard been alive when I heard about it, there would have also been trouble, but I digress.
But here is the thing: No one can ever help, and we shouldn’t expect changes in the aberrant behavior, if the culprit is not aggressively reported and pursued. Sexual predators and abusers continue along their merry way until they are either caught, or they die.
Every single time.
Longtime area residents learned this the hard way a few years back when a local TV icon was named as one of the worst serial sex abusers ever caught in the area… I wrote about it in this very space:
“As the testimony of several of his victims echoed through the courtroom, the stunned silence of his friends and colleagues was reminiscent of the years of silence that came after the described attacks. How did these horrible deeds stay quiet for so long?
What I am about to say may sound harsh, but it comes as a most serious admonition:
As parents in this society, we must communicate to our children that they have a responsibility to report such horrific activity, not just to punish the guilty, but to protect future victims.
There are grown men and women in every corner of this community that were once victims of sexual predators in ways some of us could never imagine. It is imperative that these people report their stories to the proper authorities, and that their tormentors are identified.
Had just ONE of the dozens of victims had spoken out decades ago, there is no telling how many innocents would have been spared his disgusting proclivities, and how many lives could have been saved. Victims in such cases have a responsibility to “recover,” and then as soon as humanly possible, report.
It may be difficult to put that kind of pressure on a teen, or a child even younger, but certainly as maturity comes and as the birthdays pass, there comes a time when they understand what happened to them was wrong, and the “wrongness” is only compounded by their silence.”
I have no special insight or knowledge of the Weinstein cases, but the pattern of his alleged behavior is a phenomenon with which I am extremely familiar. The above passage was written by me in 2007, in regards to the victims of Ed Meloan.
Meloan was better known to generations of young Augusta area TV viewers as Channel 12’s “Shock Theater” host, “Count Justin Sane.”
Little did we know, he really was.
For decades, the man molested young men in his home, and who knows where else, and he got away with it because his victims all remained silent. Untold dozens of them. For years.
In 2007, one came forward. Then came many more. Just like in the Weinstein case.
Meloan entered guilty pleas for his crimes that will keep him in prison for the rest of his miserable life, but what a shame that the silence of his first victim, and second, and third, and fourth, etc., was as much an ally in his continued perverted escapades as the depraved wife who assisted him in his acts.
While I hope that truth will out, and justice will prevail in whatever Weinstein did, or didn’t do, we must as a society find a way to bring sexual assault victims into the light so their tormentors do not benefit from their collective silence.
The fire trucks do not arrive until someone pulls an alarm. No murderer is ever punished until someone reports his deeds. And you better believe sexual predators will continue unabated unless their victims find the strength and will to report their crimes.
Just like the notorious British TV personality Jimmy Savile put collective silence to great use, every sexual predator on the planet is empowered by the submission of those they target.
It does sound harsh, but it is nonetheless true, that while a victim of sexual assault is never to blame for their own attack, their intentional silence provides cover, assistance and encouragement for the attacks that follow.
Blame the victims? No. Remind them that they have a responsibility to their fellow man to warn them of the evil in their midst?
Damn straight. Every time.